Dr. Erick Bravo, MD (Peru)
Mentor: Dr. Rosemary Nixon, MD
Melbourne, Australia 2019
Major goals for your mentorship experience: A major goal was to witness one of the largest allergen databases in the world. It was marvelous being a part of such a renowned contact dermatitis team that is involved in both clinical and experimental research.
What did you like best about your mentorship experience?: I enjoyed the clinical accuracy of every physician in managing eczema patients. Many of the patients had been suffering for a long time and finally getting to this clinic could provide them with the opportunity to exclude irritant or allergic contact dermatitis. Professor Nixon is a well-recognized authority and her advice to the patients was key to their diagnosis and future therapy.
Describe any special experiences with your mentor: The Contact Dermatitis Clinic is very interesting and challenging. Among the many chemicals to which a patient could potentially be exposed, you have to suspect and then detect the clinically relevant allergens and irritants. I enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes mentality of Professor Nixon. We were also able to describe a case of fiberglass dermatitis, and hopefully it will soon appear in a dermatology journal.
Describe a skill acquired during your mentorship that you will definitely use when you return home: Before this opportunity, I had minimal knowledge regarding patch testing. After working in the Contact Dermatitis Clinic and seeing many cases of occupational and non-occupational dermatitis, I am more confident in the performance and art of patch testing including distinguishing between irritant and allergic reactions.
How will your mentorship experience impact your patient care and professional goals over the next year?: It is very important to have a good understanding of how allergic and irritant dermatitis can develop in a particular patient. In addition to an increasing number of ingredients in skin care products, new industrial allergens are continuously being introduced. Being aware of these clinical scenarios and distinguishing contact dermatitis from other skin conditions will help my patients in Peru.
How will your mentorship experience make an impact five years from now, including for your region or country?: In the short term I would like to establish a Patch Testing Clinic in Lima, Peru. I will coordinate with other dermatologists in my country and communicate with other centers in Latin America to create a regional data base of frequent allergens. I would also consider networking with other clinics around the world to stay abreast of new trends.
Share a pearl you learned during your mentorship experience: I learned that paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is frequently found in hair dyes, actually produces more relevant dermatitis on the neck or forehead rather than the scalp. I also learned that gold jewelry or titanium prostheses could initiate allergic contact dermatitis. While contact dermatitis often presents as an eczematous reaction, it is important to recognize that there are several types of non-eczematous clinical presentations.